The Washington duo of Connor Morello and Mick Stanovsek went 1-2 in the 800 this past weekend, each running a time of 1:49 (with Morello taking home the win). This is an encouraging sign for Stanovsek who seems to be developing some early-season speed.
It was one of the deepest races of the weekend as we got to see five men run under the four minute barrier this past weekend. The top collegiate was Southern Utah's Kasey Knevelbaard who continued the strong start to his season with a 3:58. He was closely followed by Alex Rogers (Texas) who also ran 3:58, a one second improvement from his 3:59 one week ago.
Alex Ostberg (Stanford) and Talon Hull (Washington) both ran under the 4 minute barrier for the first time in their careers (running 3:59) while Arizona State's William Paulson (a transfer from Princeton) rounded out the top five collegiates with a 3:59 of his own.
For someone who is known for his talent in the longer distances, this is an exciting result for Alex Ostberg. It will be interesting to see what he chooses to race in the future. As for Talon Hull, you have to be excited about what he's been able to accomplish so far in his career as just a redshirt freshman. The future if very bright for this young Husky.
We saw a grand total of 14 collegiates (13 attached) run under the 8:00 barrier. After a slightly underwhelming cross country season, Iowa State's Andrew Jordan came back to the indoor oval to finish as the top collegiate with a strong personal best of 7:51. He was able to hold off strong performances from BYU's Connor McMillan, Washington's Fred Huxham, and BYU's Clayton Young who took the next three spots, all in a time of 7:51.
The next tier of finishers saw Portland's Logan Orndorf continue his breakout season with a 7:52 result. That time should qualify him for Nationals, but we are seeing a lot of fast and impressive 3k times this early in the season.
BYU's Connor Mantz finished close behind in 7:53 while Minnesota's Obsa Ali (the steeplechase champion from outdoors last year) finished 8th overall in 7:54.
The following men also dipped under the 8:00 barrier...
Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse (Portland)
Dan Curts (Iowa State)
Addison DeHaven (Boise State)
Michael Ward (Bradley)
Chris Olley (San Francisco)
Michael Somers (Portland - Unattached)
Carlos Villarreal (Arizona)
The top collegiate was Arizona State's Fearghal Curtin, a transfer from Charleston Southern. His time of 14:05 was enough to finish 3rd overall and hold off Utah State's Luke Beattie (14:08) and Washington's Julius Diehr (14:12).
The distance medley relay essentially became a matchup between Stanford and Washington. However, with Grant Fisher splitting 3:56 on the anchor, the Huskies had to settle for 2nd. The Cardinal were victorious in an NCAA #2 time of 9:29 while UW finished runner-up in 9:37.
Mississippi State sophomore Marco Arop threw down a big time of 1:47.63 to take home the win this past weekend. He held off a strong effort from Iowa State's Roshon Roomes who ran 1:48.94 for 2nd. Kieran Taylor (Arkansas), Dejon Devroe (Mississippi State), and Blake Haney (Oregon) finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively, all with times of 1:49.
For Arop, this is a strong and encouraging start to his season. Many see Arop as a potential candidate to win the national title come March. A big win like this may have been necessary to maintain that narrative, but it certainly doesn't make his performance any less impressive.
It was a dual between Oregon's Cooper Teare and Arkansas' Cameron Griffith in an exciting sub-four minute matchup. In the end, Teare would emerge victorious in the final few meters while Griffith settled for 2nd, 3:59.21 to 3:59.68.
It was one of the more underrated performances of the weekend as Oregon's Charlie Hunter came out of nowhere to upset Iowa State's Edwin Kurgat, 7:59.88 to 8:00.23. For Kurgat, this was a bit of an off race. For Hunter, this is likely a huge confidence booster moving forward.
Oregon soloed a time of 9:36 while the men from Arkansas settled for 2nd in 9:46.
John Thomas Terrier Classic
Zachary Lanigan (Brown) was the only collegiate to run under the 1:50 barrier with a time of 1:49.65.
Dartmouth's Reed Horton was the top collegiate (8th overall) in a time of 2:25 and was closely followed by Siena's Luciano Fiore who also ran 2:25 for 9th.
In a field full of professionals, Syracuse's Aidan Tooker stood out in a time of 3:59.39. It was the first time in his career that he dipped under the four minute barrier. Michigan's Chase Barrett ran a heart-breaking 4:00.86 to finish as the second-best collegiate while teammate Ben Hill was close behind in 4:01.
For Tooker, this is a huge time which indicates that he has more track speed than we initially thought. It will be interesting to see if he continues to pursue the mile or will chase something longer in distance later this season.
The field was headlined by the Alabama duo, but Michigan's John Aho had planned an upset. The Wolverine sophomore finished 2nd overall (top collegiate) in a time of 7:57 to upset Vincent Kiprop and Gilbert Kigen who each ran 7:59. In fact, Aho wasn't the only collegiate to finish ahead of the Crimson Tide. Paul Hogan from UMass Lowell ran 7:58 to finish as the second-best collegiate.
It's important that we don't overanalyze these results from Alabama. They are both coming off of a cross country season where they were rumored to be injured. In the meantime, Aho is coming off of a cross country season where he finished as an All-American. All things considered, these are encouraging results from everyone involved.
Syracuse's Joe Dragon was the top collegiate in 14:05 while teammate Kevin James finished behind him in 14:12.
Dr. Sanders Columbia Challenge
The invite section of the 1k held some elite names such as Craig Engels, Robby Andrews, Johnny Gregorek. Columbia's Alek Sauer finished in a time of 2:22 for 6th overall. It's a very solid result that should put him in the national qualifying conversation for 800 meters later this season.
Columbia's Alek Sauer was the winner with a strong time of 4:01. Ohio State's Luke Landis was close behind in 4:02 and was the next collegiate finisher to cross the line.
After redshirting the 2018 cross country season, Robert Brandt has returned to the UCLA lineup. He took home the win this past weekend in a time of 7:59. He was able to hold off Columbia's Brian Zabilski who ran 8:02 for 2nd.
In a field packed with elite-level professionals, Sydney Gidabuday was the top collegiate. The Adams State superstar put together an aggressive (and impressive) performance where he finished in 7:54 for 6th place overall.
Columbia took home the win in a time of 9:38 to fend off a strong effort by Duke who finished 2nd in 9:41.
Texas Tech Classic
My goodness, this may have been the race of the weekend. We've been talking about how wide-open the men's 800 national title is this year, but Devin Dixon may have just made himself the favorite. The Texas A&M junior ran a monster time of 1:45.27 (altitude converted 1:44.97) to take home the win over USC's Isaiah Jewett who ran 1:46.91 (altitude converted 1:46.60) for 2nd. Dixon's time is a new American collegiate record.
Dixon's teammate Carlton Orange had a nice race of his own, running 1:47.05 (altitude converted 1:46.74) for 3rd. That time should qualify him for Nationals.
Texas Tech teammates Vincent Crisp and Jonah Koech finished 4th and 5th overall, each running a pair of 1:47's. After conversions, those times round down to 1:46.97 (Crisp) and 1:46.98 (Koech). They are also likely to qualify for Nationals.
UT-Arlington's Erik Martinsson (6th) and Texas Tech freshman Sven Cepus (7th) earned converted times of 1:48.14 and 1:48.69, respectively.
This might be one of, if not the, fastest races for 800 meters that you will see this season. With so many fast times also run elsewhere in the country, 2019 may be one of the hardest years to qualify for Nationals in the half-mile.
As for Dixon, we can't ignore what he just accomplished. That is a huge time and a monumental record that has stood since 1999. However, we've seen this story before. We know Dixon can run absurdly fast times, but can he put it together on the national stage? I guess we'll have to wait and see...
Indiana University Relays
Indiana freshman Jalen Royal continued the strong start to his collegiate career by crossing the line in 1:49.81 for 1st place. He held off Ole Miss sophomore John Rivera (1:50.11) and Wisconsin veteran Eric Brown (1:50.28) to take home the win.
Ole Miss star Waleed Suliman had a strong race, running 4:01.00 to hold off Indiana's Daniel Michalski who ran 4:01.32 for 2nd. As great of a result as this is for Suliman, we have to give Michalski some credit. This guy continues to be one of the more underrated distance runners in the NCAA this season. He continues to improve each weekend and is battling with some of the NCAA's best. Keep an eye on him as we enter the next month of competition.
The Morgan McDonald vs Grant Fisher debate just got a whole lot more complicated...and the reason has nothing to do with either of them. Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare just ran a mind-boggling time of 7:48 to assert himself as a lethal favorite to win the national title in March. Is this guy the best runner in the NCAA? Better than his teammate who won the national title in cross country two months ago? For now, it's a fair question...
Indiana's Kyle Mau was the only one who could keep things interesting against Hoare, running a huge time of 7:50 to finish 2nd. This is a very exciting performance for Mau who ran also 7:50 for 3000 meters last year. To run it once more validates his elite level of fitness. He will certainly be a favorite to podium come March.
Ben Veatch (Indiana) and Olin Hacker (Wisconsin) posted strong times of their own, finishing 3rd and 4th, respectively each with a time of 7:56. Derek Gutierrez continues to show that he can be an ace for his Ole Miss teammates after finishing 5th in a time of 7:57.
It may have been one of the most impressive performances of the weekend. Indiana's lineup of Daniel Michalski, Zubin Muncherji, Cooper Williams, and Kyle Mau ran a blistering fast time of 9:27.30 to earn the top time in the NCAA. That time is now the 6th fastest time ever run in NCAA history. We would love to find splits if anyone has them...
With the Hoosiers now comfortably owning a national qualifier, they'll have the luxury of pursuing other individual events in the final weeks of competition while most teams will flock to meets like Alex Wilson.
Penn State National Open
Joe White is BACK and he it's clear that he wanted to make a statement. The Georgetown star threw down an NCAA #4 time of 1:46.91 this weekend to comfortably take home the win. He held off a respectable challenge from Penn State's Domenic Perretta who ran 1:48.09 (NCAA #8).
With Isaiah Harris no longer on the roster, Perretta will be viewed by many in the BIG 10 as Penn State's next mid-distance ace. Don't forget that the Nittany Lion junior ran 1:47 as a freshman in 2017.
Georgetown's Ruach Padhal finished 3rd overall in a strong time of 1:49.91.
New Mexico Team Invite
Josh Kerr went back to his home track to run 1:48.55 for the win. More importantly, he was able to lead two teammates under the 1:50 barrier. Michael Wilson (1:49.78) and Kristian Hansen (1:49.85) took the top two collegiate spots and earned altitude conversions of 1:49.17 and 1:49.24.
Clemson Bob Pollock Invite
We got to see two ACC rivals go at it this past weekend. Robert Heppenstall (Wake Foreset) took home the win in his season debut in a time of 1:50.05. He held off John Lewis (Clemson) who finished 2nd in 1:50.57.
It's surprising to see times this slow for two All-Americans, especially with someone like Lewis who is known to push the pace. Still, these are solid results and a nice win for Heppenstall.
It's been a while since we last saw Amon Kemboi toe the line, but the Campbell star has finally returned. After running 13:33 in December, Kemboi is looking to show off his range. The Camel junior ran 3:59 this past weekend to comfortably defeat a strong contingent from Florida State. His time now ranks #7 in the NCAA.